Labor members vote for higher Gold Coast water costs

20 Jun 2011 10:38 AMJann Stuckey

20 June 2011

Member for Currumbin, Jann Stuckey and LNP colleagues voted against Labor’s Fair Water Prices legislation labelling it a cheap political stunt that will not reduce water costs for South East Queensland residents.

Labor’s bill would see a cap on water and wastewater services provided by council-owned Distributor-Retailers for two years from 1st July 2011and it would allow local councils the option of regaining control of water.

“Premier Anna Bligh has done a spectacular back-flip to attract votes by offering councils the option to disband from the recently created Distributor-retailers Unitywater, Queensland Urban Utilities and Allconnex,” said Ms Stuckey. 

“As with many Labor proposals they sound fine on the surface but it is the devil in the detail that caused the LNP serious concerns. 

“By introducing a cap on some water charges, but not the State Government bulk water charges, this legislation will do nothing to alleviate the issue of costly water bills for struggling Gold Coast households.

“In fact ratepayers could ultimately still pay an unnecessary price.

“Water prices have gone through the roof for residents and community groups in south-east Queensland due to the Bligh Labor Government forcing the new water distribution and retailer system onto local councils less than two years ago.

“I opposed this new Labor legislation on behalf of the good people of Currumbin who have tolerated enormous disruption through the construction of the billion dollar Tugun desalination plant.

“People in my electorate wouldn’t trust this Government to run a chook raffle let alone something as vital as a water distribution system after the Tugun desal debacle. 

“It is so typical of this Bligh Labor Government – one rule for themselves and another for the rest of us.

“Campbell Newman’s March announcement of the LNP’s Four Point Plan for Water will save residents more money:

• Amalgamation of the five bulk water entities into one to provide greater efficiencies
• Hand back control of water retailing to councils
• Write off some of the non-performing water grid assets
• Immediately adopt a 40 year price path to repay the State Government’s $7 billion water grid debt

“The Members for Burleigh, Broadwater, Southport, and Albert have not been seen at any of the public protest rallies organised by community group Disconex.

“I wonder what Labor members on the Gold Coast have been telling their angry constituents when they call their offices in pure rage over their massive water bills?

“No doubt there are many constituents in these Labor electorates that are fed up with the mess this Bligh Labor Government has made of our water system, and like Currumbin residents, are tired of paying a high price for one of life’s most basic necessities.